The Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) held its bi-weekly General Council meeting on Nov. 1 to discuss upcoming social events, student mental health, and a motion to approve changes to the Freshman Undergraduate Science Society’s (FUSS) electoral by-laws.
Gert's Event Night promotes community bonding and a possible science bar
Following a brief question and announcement period, Vice-President (VP) Academic Ellie Joung reported on academic events taking place over the next few weeks. VP Internal Soud Kharusi focused his report on upcoming social events. The Society's first social event night, titled Kill the Keg, will take place on Nov. 7 at Gert's. In addition to giving students in the faculty an opportunity to socialize, Kharusi feels the event will serve as a measure to gauge student interest in opening a science bar, similar to those of other faculties, such as Bar des Arts and Blues Pub.
“We’ll see how [Kill the Keg] goes,” Kharusi said. “It’s kind of a trial run to see how a science bar would actually turn out. Based on this event and the next couple of weeks, we’ll decide whether or not to move forward with the project.”
The SUS also plans to host a wine and cheese event on Nov. 16 to introduce themselves to first-year students.
VP External Michelle Guo reported that the SUS Environment Committee’s (SUSEC) first vegan baking workshop, held on Oct. 27, was successful. She also discussed SUS Charity month, which began on Oct. 31 and will run until the end of November. The committee plans to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation throughout the month with samosa sales; other committees were also invited to propose fundraising ideas, but only samosa sales have been planned thus far.
SUS survey on student mental health
Guo also updated Council on the SUS survey on student mental health. The survey was released on Oct. 29, but has since been taken down at the request of Dean of Science Bruce Lennox , who asked to review and approve it for re-posting. When announcing the survey’s removal, Guo emphasized the SUS’s commitment to student wellness.
“It’s very important for [Lennox], and also the students to know that we genuinely care about their wellness,” Guo said. “And if that’s not on board with [Lennox…] that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll go forward with [the survey, regardless].”
Council addressed VP Communications Reem Mandil’s proposed motion for changes to the FUSS constitution. The motion’s primary objective is to officially replace “Freshman” with the term “First Year” to be equally inclusive to U1 and U0 students in their first year at McGill.
The motion also sought to eliminate the election of first-year students to Council, and rather have the Council select candidate for the executive positions of FUSS from a pool of applicants that includes both U0 and U1 students. Previously, only U0 students were hired by the FUSS. Mandil cited low candidacy interest, minimal electoral participation, and the need to ensure the qualifications of candidates as reasons to forego the elections, without resistance from the Council.
The motion also suggests removing bylaw 2.4 of the SUS Constitution, which states the Presidential candidates need a minimum of 30 constituent signatures, and those running for other executive positions need 25. Without an election, the bylaw would therefore be unnecessary.
The Constitutional Affairs Committee (CAC) approved all proposed changes after they were reported in the previous Council meeting. Following the question period, SUS President Jasmine Leung expressed her support for removing the electoral process and thus the motion itself.
“[Mandil] has had a lot of experience with the actual electoral process of FUSS and how much effort goes into that election and how little is actually gained from having it.” Leung said. “The amount of people that come out to put themselves out there to be elected is never the same amount of positions that are available.”
With all votes in favour and two abstentions, the motion to alter the official title of FUSS and its constitution passed.
SUS Council will next meet on Nov. 15.